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Christopher Murphy

Hyperbole is the Best Thing EVER!!!!

Natick, MA United States | Listener Since 2009

  • 17 reviews
  • 156 ratings
  • 554 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through Civilization's Best Bits

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Steve Wiegand, Erik Sass
    • Narrated By Johny Heller

    About 60,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were just beginning their move across the grasslands and up the ladder of civilization. Everything since then, as they say, is history. Just in case you were sleeping in class that day, the geniuses at mental_floss magazine have put together a hilarious (and historically accurate) primer on everything you need to know---and that means the good stuff.

    Batman says: "History can be entertaining."
    "Not That Irreverent, But Still Really Good"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Mental Floss History of the World to be better than the print version?

    No. I think some of the humor is lost via the reader, who falls flat. I would also assume that there would be maps, lists and graphs that would enhance the print version.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I love the fact that they try and encompass everything. And for the most part, I think they get as much as could be expected or imagined in one volume. They treat the pre-Colombian Americas and Africa with equal respect to Asia and Europe, which few books attempt. They tend to do very cursory glances over big historical moments so they can include a larger vision, and it feels like they are respectful to the reader by assuming that they know about WWI or WWII, rather than treating people like they never heard of it. They do a really good job of talking about cause and effect. Rather than use taxation/representation as the cause of the American Revolution, they link it back the French and Indian War.Despite being a general history book, and I have a lot of knowledge in the area, I was still introduced to new facts. I loved that.Overall, a great primer book for further exploration with a lot of respect for all cultures. Wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.

    What aspect of Johny Heller’s performance would you have changed?

    He falls flat on their attempts at humor. I think that he doesn't do them justice in the "irreverence" aspect.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    God no. You digest this one in hour segments. I listened to this at the same time I listened to another book. I feel if you try to do too much of this at one time, you might get too much information and therefor not process as much as if you take it slowly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Saturn's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Charles Stross
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In Saturn's Children, Freya is an obsolete android concubine in a society where humans haven't existed for hundreds of years. A rigid caste system keeps the Aristos, a vindictive group of humanoids, well in control of the lower, slave-chipped classes. So when Freya offends one particularly nasty Aristo, she's forced to take a dangerous courier job off-planet.

    G. House Sr. says: "Pleasent, Complicated Space Opera - Very Enjoyable"
    "If you know it's erotica beforehand, it might help"

    I went into this thinking it was a sci-fi book. But it's more erotica than anything. And if you're not prepared for that, it will kill the story. I would tune out way too often because of the weird sex scenes and would then have lost some key moments that were plot related by the time I remembered to actively listen again. I was just too uncommitted (or disturbed) to rewind. I think they meant for "space opera" to be a clue as to the erotic nature....but I missed the point.

    Underneath all the Rule 34/Japanese Manga bizarro-ness is a sci-fi story with a few good things. For example the idea of humans leaving robots that are still tied to human rules programmed into them. And a very realistic take on space travel. However, as I said, it's not always easy to follow.

    So if you are looking to read this, I don't want to discourage you. Just know that it's 50 shades of gray for robots. That way you don't get lost in a barrage of "what the heck am I listening to moments" that make it difficult to get engaged with the plot. You may end up liking it way more with that in mind.

    Good luck.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By George Friedman
    • Narrated By William Hughes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Next 100 Years, Friedman turns his eye on the future. Drawing on a profound understanding of history and geopolitical patterns dating back to the Roman Empire, he shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, experiencing the dawn of a new historical cycle.

    Ryan says: "Take with a few grains of salt"
    "Very interesting!"

    I've seen people talk about his predictions, but don't get caught up in that.

    He uses his knowledge to take a stab at predicting the next 100 years. How accurate will it be? Probably not a lot. But he called the crisis in the Ukraine six years ago. So he is starting out strong.

    All of his forecasting is just fun and interesting.

    The underlying logic is what's important. Geopolitics and US grand strategy. How the short-term need to apply this strategy leads to new enemies/allies. I think he does a fairly good job of interpreting the grand strategies of Russia, Japan and Germany too. I'm a bit less certain on Turkey, Mexico and Poland. And the subject of immigration is mind-boggling good.

    Give it a shot. It's well worth it if you don't get bogged down on the details.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Time Traveler's Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Audrey Niffenegger
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Phoebe Strole

    Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was 36. They were married when Clare was 23 and Henry was 31. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

    Scott says: "Epic Drama & Love Story through Time Travel"
    "Low Grade Porn"

    A sexy sexy science fiction story. And by sexy sexy, I mean boring and quite useless. Everybody will tell you this is some great story. It is not. It's sometimes porn, sometimes a diatribe about the stupid, animistic nature of males and on the rare occasion females. There is no point and a great idea is wasted on a series of sexcapades and rather forced pregnancy episode.

    So think 50 Shades of Gray but uppity about it and with less-kinky sex.

    It sucked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis

    Barcelona, 1945: Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his 11th birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.

    Katherine says: "Great With One Exception"
    "Offensively Ignorant Narration"

    I like Jonathan Davis and will listen to more books with him as narrator. But I don't know what he was doing here. This book is about Catalonia. And it specifically about a Catalan society that suffered under the oppression of Franco. Catalans do not, to a very distinct point, refer to Barcelona with a "th" sound. It is Bar-sa-lona, not Bar-tha-lona. That is the Castilian pronunciation and while it's use isn't as as extreme as it once was (although you could still get pummeled for using it in some places), back when this book was happening, it would have been up there with some of the most offensive racial epithets we refuse to use today. It is seriously that bad. And he does it 100's of times.

    In fact, he will mention FC Barcelona, who quite literally abbreviate their name as Barça, with the French cedilla, to emphasize how much they detest the "th" sound when referring to them.

    And it's important, because the Catalan language was brutally oppressed during the Franco regime and the Camp Nou, where Barça play, was the only place where people could speak it in a large group.

    So how he could take a book about Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War, it's far-reaching effects on all of Spain, but specifically Catalonia in this book and not figure out this is beyond me. I'm not Catalan and have never been (although it's on my bucket list) and yet I know enough about these things to cringe every time he said it.

    Despite his ignorance (or the production teams), he does a good job with the book outside of this. And I still thought it was quite enjoyable as a story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs)
    • By Greta Christina
    • Narrated By Greta Christina
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why are atheists angry? Is it because they're selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry - and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism.

    Amazon Customer says: "I didn't need to listen to this book"
    "She Doesn't Speak For All of Us"

    Seriously, this woman is not worth your time if you're an atheist with any amount of critical thinking. She exists for that segment of us that just is looking for a reason to hate. I hate those people as much as I hate fundies in other philosophical enclaves.

    You can find an atheist with a love of knowledge, a sense of humor, a sense of propriety and a need for truth.

    Oh wait. You can find thousands of them. You can find many of them that write books.

    She's not of them.

    And comparing herself to the like of Dawkins and the Hitch just makes me loathe her.

    So if you aren't an atheist......she's not a good sampling

    If you should know better.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 - 5)

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Minnie Goode

    This is the story of mankind clawing for survival, of mankind on the edge. The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the residents who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple. They are given the very thing they profess to want: They are allowed outside.

    Charles says: "Unique"
    "A lovely surprise"

    Basically I bought too many books at some point. Some of them have turned out to be disappointments.

    But not this one. I started this just to say I tried and give up on it. Ripped through the entire thing in days. Absolutely loved it.

    Interested angle in the post-apocayptic genre and that's not easy to do

    Makes the story, characters and finale interesting.

    When Minnie laughs for a character. Seriously this is probably the only complaint I have about the entire book. Her performance great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Economics in One Lesson

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Henry Hazlitt
    • Narrated By Jeff Riggenbach
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Called by H.L. Mencken, "one of the few economists in history who could really write," Henry Hazlitt achieved lasting fame for his brilliant but concise work. In it, he explains basic truths about economics and the economic fallacies responsible for unemployment, inflation, high taxes, and recession.

    Kenrick says: "Truly an amazing work."
    "This is for the right"
    Would you try another book from Henry Hazlitt and/or Jeff Riggenbach?

    No. Obviously he has his political stance and I don't share his values so I couldn't even finish this one.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Not angry. Basically this book has a view and an opinion but doesn't back it up with evidence. If I agreed with right wing laissez-faire economics, then I'm sure I would like this. But I don't. I see the world of economics in shades of gray. If you live in the world of gray rather than black and white, then this will probably not be worth your time.

    Any additional comments?

    Even if I didn't share the values of this economist, I was opened to learning something. But it's so obviously tinged with an agenda that I couldn't even do that. Big disappointment.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority.

    B.J. says: "Perfect."
    "Not Great, Not Bad.....Just Average"
    Would you try another book from Stieg Larsson and/or Simon Vance?

    I really liked Vance. I would definitely enjoy another book by him.

    Would you be willing to try another book from Stieg Larsson? Why or why not?

    I think I would be done with Larsson even if he hadn't passed away. He's exhausting and had no editor to keep him on point. Due to the fact that this was found and printed posthumously, there are way too many parts that have no bearing on his overall story.While I loved the insights in the Swedish society and history, I'm not sure I trust the sociopolitical commentary fully. I'm sure there is truth to all of it, but its an extremist view and he in fact thought that people such as himself without extremist views were victims in I can't appreciate the disconnect. That bothers me. Aside from that, the story itself is slow and resolves in such a way that its hard to suspend disbelief.

    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    I always like Henrik the best, but for this one I would say I liked Anders Jonasson and Malin Erikson. While two minor characters, I thought they were strong layered characters and that Vance did an excellent job of breathing life into them.And while my overall feeling might not come out as positive, I do one of Larsson's strongest traits was his ability to create complex minor characters.

    Do you think The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Oh God no. I don't care about the sister. I don't care about Salandar or Blomqvist at this point either. Perhaps I missed something nuanced because Kalle is definitely misogynistic in his own special kind way and maybe there was something Stig was trying to do by making such a character the protagonist in the universe, but it went over my head. So I just find him boring and I find Salandar too one-dimensional. While she gets lumped in with other great female protaganists, I think that she her personality is thinner than her oft-explained frame. She might be more kick-ass than Bella from Twilight, she no more layered than her and I wouldn't want my daughter thinking of either of them as more than weak literary avatars. He does a great job of explaining why she is the way she is, but he never makes a case for why I should do more than pity her. Perhaps I know too many people that have had just as bad lives and have become amazing people that I find the idea that she should be excused for not falling too far from the tree. She's rather loathsome and unless the next book included a part where Kalle, Holger and Dragan realize now that she's been exonerated that she's still a bad person, then I have no interest.

    Any additional comments?

    Why is this universe so black and white sexually. Either a person is hyper-sexual or sexually disturbed. There are three people in the three books that have some kind of sexual history that isn't extreme and Kalle does his best to ruin them. It's something weird that is lost in all of this and I'm note sure I want to think much more about it. But it began to bother me in the 2nd book and by the Erika history in this, I was loathing it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 13 Things That Don't Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Michael Brooks
    • Narrated By James Adams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Science starts to get interesting when things don't make sense. Science's best-kept secret is that there are experimental results and reliable data that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. If history is any precedent, we should look to today's inexplicable results to forecast the future of science. Michael Brooks heads to the scientific frontier to meet 13 modern-day anomalies and discover tomorrow's breakthroughs.

    Stephen says: "10 interesting chapters-read epiloge first"
    "Science for people who hate Science"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The religious right. Conspiracy theorists. Anti-intellectuals. And anybody who HATES science.

    The author has no clear understanding of his subject matter and has read just enough as someone who hates science to get away with talking about. It's like those people who are atheists and no way too much about the bible, because they say "know your enemy". Science is not your enemy. And religion is not your enemy (and yes I am an atheist). Stupid people are your enemy. And it's the stupid people that try and turn science or religion into something that serves their agenda, rather than accept what they have to offer.

    Cold Fusion? The reason people don't believe in CF is because it has never been verifiable. Nobody can make it happen within the parameters described every time. That means something is wrong with the idea. People are still looking into. That's what science does.

    Homeopathy? If you want to spend your hard earned money on water because you think it has memory, then you deserve to get ripped off. And don't complain about taxes, because homeopathy is a tax on stupidity and you pay it gladly.

    Evolution? He has no idea what evolution is. It's not sexual selection as he describes it.

    Pot shots at Carl Sagan? Author is a troll.

    So if you love science avoid this book. Because the first two chapters aren't bad and will fool you.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    A book that isn't written by a charlatan.

    Have you listened to any of James Adams’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The reader did okay and doesn't deserve to be judged on the material

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The first two chapters are decent. And they lull you into a false sense of security before he hits you with the crazy.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Not What You Are Expecting"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I probably wouldn't. I have recently come back to King after not reading his work for years. And some of his new stuff has been excellent, on par with the old works we hold in high regard. This isn't one of those new ones.

    Not that it didn't hold the same story telling and character development that is typical of a King book. But this one lacks a story. And with a title and premise such as it has, that was the last thing I would have thought coming in. In many ways the assassination is just a weak framework for something else King wanted to do.

    While he does get down to brass tacks and discuss time-travel and it's paradoxes, who shot JFK, and an alternate history, they are very small parts of this large book. When he is discussing these three topics, it's really good. That's the part I will remember.

    But the section on what would have happened if JFK had lived was way too short. I've seen some really crappy alt-history pieces written in my time, and here was a guy who could have done it right (and he did) but he didn't spend enough time on it. That stunk.

    Otherwise, you are getting a book about a guy getting used to living in the early 60's. It's not bad, but it's not what I expected.

    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most Interesting: More than the King's alt-history, I believe his position on who shot JFK is very good.

    Least Interesting: Everything between about Nov 1958 through 1961

    Any additional comments?

    There is are some very obvious Easter Egg for any "It" fans. They were great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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